Delving into 200 hours of revealing home video, Sasha Joseph Neulinger tells his story as a survivor of multigenerational abuse.
Rewind To Fast-Forward
Director Sasha Joseph Neulinger spent his childhood in front of a camera. His father Henry, also a documentary filmmaker, shot over two hundred hours of home video capturing every aspect of Sasha’s young life. But within the footage of birthday parties, family trips, and hockey games, something dark was hidden. Sasha revisits his father’s videos and the painful secret of his early years—a secret that would shift the course of his life.
Between the ages of three and seven, Sasha was sexually abused by two of his uncles and one male cousin. After Sasha came forward and spoke up about the abuse, his father Henry shared a secret of his own. Henry’s brothers, the same men who had abused Sasha, had also abused Henry as a boy. Sasha spent a decade entangled in the criminal justice system—and struggling to find his identity in the aftermath of his stolen childhood. This autobiographical film will unearth a historical case of multigenerational sexual abuse and by doing so, it will also give intimate and inspiring insight into one survivor’s healing process.
From the Director
In my first feature length documentary, I will share my experience of overcoming child sexual abuse, a journey from victim to survivor. My goal is to shed light on what it is to be a child abuse victim—from the first moment of abuse, through the process of reclaiming and rebalancing life. I want to expose the causes underlying the destructive multigenerational cycle of child abuse in my own family. And I hope that as I share my story as a case study, we can have a more open conversation about the importance of an uninterrupted healing process for child victims and reduce the numbers of children who are abused.
Rewind To Fast-Forward is joining experts and organizations in a conversation about how we can prevent child abuse and help adult survivors reclaim balance and stability in their lives. Experts closely involved with Sasha’s case co-founded Mission Kids Child Advocacy Center in Pennsylvania. Their goal is to prevent other children from having to go through the same brutal experience of reliving abuse over and over in the courtroom.
Mission Kids provides a quiet, safe and kid friendly space for children to testify in front of HD cameras and high quality audio recording devices. The testimonies compiled at Mission Kids are then used in prosecution so that the child never have has to enter a courtroom. Sasha hopes that someday in the future, every community will have an organization like Mission Kids.
Telling the story of multigenerational abuse
We have a visual archive not available to most documentary filmmakers-—more than two hundred hours of home video from Sasha’s childhood. Those tapes contain footage from before his abuse, Sasha with his abusers before he had the courage to speak up, during years of trials, and into his adolescence.
We’ll also be conducting interviews with all of the professionals who worked tirelessly on Sasha’s case which eventually reached the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. Experts will include the District Attorney, the Senior Detective, and the psychiatrist who treated Sasha for the ten years he spent in and out of courtrooms. All of these elements will help us explore the many sides of a complex multigenerational story.